Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dancing through loss

The dance department is almost ready for show weekend! Darla Johnson and Catherine Solaas will each be presenting a faculty work along with student choreography from Darla’s Dance Composition class in the Spring 2015 Choreographers’ Showcase. 

Lindsey Gerson is one of our veteran student choreographers. If you’ve seen any of the ACC showcases over the last few semesters, you’ve seen Lindsey’s gorgeous performance quality grace the stage and her intriguing choreography inspire fellow dancers.

LaTiya Smith during Lindsey's tech
Dealing with the recent loss of her grandmother, Lindsey decided to set a solo on fellow classmate, LaTiya Smith, focusing on the struggle of finding beauty when a loved one has Alzheimer’s. During the semester, LaTiya’s sister passed away unexpectedly. The choreographer and dancer ended up joining together to create a dance in the midst of losing loved ones.

“It’s not supposed to be a heavy piece,” Lindsey explained. “It’s about embracing the raw beauty. And asking if this can be beautiful? Can you be yourself when you can’t remember anyone?”

The movement for the piece, Least We Forget, came from class exercises as well as filmed improvisations. “I filmed us during improvisations to different music, some happy and not happy songs. We improvised without music too, just moving from what we were feeling. And some days we were really upset. I was dealing with being angry and frustrated,” Lindsey said.

LaTiya Smith in Least We Forget

Least We Forget naturally became an outlet for both dancers. “I think it really did help us deal with it. Anyone in the audience who has experienced this kind of forgetfulness or this kind of loss will get the piece. I wanted to make it something beautiful, like their lives. I didn’t want it about how ugly their deaths were. It’s about the seeing the beautiful parts, seeing the beautiful parts when you do remember.”

The Choreographers’ Showcase is Friday and Saturday, May 8 and 9, at 8 pm on the Mainstage at the Rio Grande Campus. Tickets are available at the door: $5 for students and seniors, $10 for general admission.

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Photography by Anne Wharton.

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